Don't call me crazy, but I'm already thinking about Christmas.
Every year, as soon as Christmas is over, I say to myself, "We need to start shopping earlier, next time. We need to buy things here and there throughout the year. We need to save some money specifically for buying presents and going Christmassy places."
Well, it's pretty much October, and we didn't do ANY of the things I always say we should. So, that leaves three months to get it together and plan and save for the most spectacular, atmospheric, sparkly, wonderful holiday ever!
WHO IS WITH ME?
I know that there's a lot of talk about the holidays being too commercial. About not wanting your children to get a bunch of crap that will just fill up your house. About wanting to emphasize the love part, instead of the getting stuff part. I agree that a pile of plastic crap isn't necessary for a Christmas to be wonderful.
Well, brace yourselves, because I am going to step up and defend a holiday with all the trimmings. I know that the holidays aren't all about getting things... but do you remember waking up on Christmas morning as a kid and GETTING THINGS?
It was out of this world amazing and memory making and worthwhile. It was exactly all of the things I want for my kids. You can call me superficial or possession grubbing if you want to. I want my kids to come down the stairs on December 25th and have their beautiful little eyes pop out of their heads. I want them to scream in delight. I want them to feel like we live every day of our lives in a state of moderation and thinglessness, that we're a family that understands our worth in terms of togetherness and love, and for ONE DAY each year, we go nuts and roll around in mountains of wrapping paper and throw our new possessions into the air and laugh and hug and feel like there is NO WAY our poor little, rattletrap of a family pulled something this spectacular off.
So, that's just me.
I grew up poor. Kind of REALLY poor. But, we always had a big Christmas. We always had an impossible pile of presents and a real tree and cheesecake with cherries for breakfast. We went out for dinner on Christmas Eve and left a big tip. We made cookies and decorated them with colored icing. We drove around in the days leading up to the big day looking at everybody's lights and decorations, listening to terrible, cheesy holiday songs.
I don't have a ton of easy and straightforwardly happy memories from my childhood. My parents hated each other, we didn't have any money and Jesus was always telling us that everything we thought and did was wrong. And then there was Christmas.
When I was in college and living across town under a black light, I came home and slept in my childhood bedroom for Christmas Eve. Long after everyone was asleep, I was wide awake with excitement over THE NEXT DAY BEING CHRISTMAS, and my sister and I were snuggled into her bed together, laughing and being stupid like little kids. I was twenty and she was fifteen, and we were saying, "Goodnight, honey," and then seeing who could snore the loudest and the funniest, and we snored and laughed so loud that our mom woke up and barged into the room. She yelled at us, "Go to sleep!" I'd spent the past few years being a junky and a fuckup, and suddenly, for just a moment, I was a little kid getting in honest trouble again for not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve.
I'm a Christmas fanatic. It is obviously the result of some short circuiting in my brain due to unresolved issues with my childhood. I also don't care because blasting my girls out of the water with an over the top holiday experience is so fun and exciting. I'm a big, fat old mom with orthopedic shoes and when I see the light in their little faces, I feel like a kid, again.
I KNOW. I'M SO SELFISH.
So, that's why we need to batten the hatches and trim the sails and starboard ho toward a Christmas Extravaganza. We need to spend NO EXTRA MONEY now, so that I can spend ALL OF THE EXTRA money later on being a totally materialistic, sensationalist, Christmas nut.
So, get ready. I'll be coming up with some cheap and nutritional ways to feed my family for the month of October. We'll be taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather to have all of our fun for free. We'll pay all of our bills, set aside $200 for gas and then we'll only spend $500 on EVERYTHING ELSE. For a whole month. In the name of a pile of presents and lights that twinkle and Phipps Conservatory and dinner out on Christmas Eve.
We can do this. It's worth it.